Shana Perman, PA-C, never thought about working in the field of reproductive medicine and infertility until she went through IVF treatment herself to grow her family. Her career choice is a reflection of her personal story — understanding the roller coaster of emotions, cycles, diagnoses, and treatment paths that culminate into a family-building journey. Shana cares because she has been there. Here is her story: 

When I started my job as a physician assistant at Shady Grove Fertility, I was 13 weeks pregnant with my second child, who I turned to SGF to help me conceive through IVF. I was blissful, nervous, nauseated, and ever cognizant of my growing baby bump. The truth is, it is somewhat awkward to be pregnant when you work in the field of infertility.  

When I first meet patients, many have endured countless negative pregnancy tests, miscarriages, or failed treatment cycles. Many are struggling with feelings of isolation, battling their biological clocks, believing that they arrived late to the fertility party, or that they were forced into infertility for reasons beyond their control. Some are single women, same-sex couples, couples with cancer, or possess genetic abnormalities. The last person they want to meet is a healthcare provider whose round belly represents what seems unreachable. 

But, like my patients, I personally have a profound understanding of the crazy human experience that is fertility treatment. Professionally, I have in-depth knowledge about what actually happens in a fertility practice to make it work — from the office to the embryology lab, to all the amazing staff behind the scenes who help make each patient’s journey come to life. I am part of the one in eight [couples] — or more than seven million people — affected by infertility. 

My husband and I faced various unexpected struggles in our journey to build a family, but finally met success (three times) with IVF. IVF was life-altering for us; it made us parents and it led me to change professional specialties — from neonatal intensive care to infertility. I love being part of a collaborative healthcare team that provides personalized medical care to those facing infertility.  

Daily, I perform ultrasound monitoring, early OB ultrasounds, intrauterine inseminations, and mock embryo transfers, among other services. I counsel and care for patients. I share my story with my patients, offering hope and possibility. Modern medicine has made possible treatments to help most people achieve their goal of parenthood, including myself. 

I’m grateful that I get to be a part of my patients’ journeys. No one wants to be a part of the club that needs fertility treatment, but my personal experience gives me passion and purpose in what I do — and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 

Shana Perman, P.A.-C’s story was originally published on the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine’s website.